Factors Responsible for High Turnover in the Trades

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Turnover in the Trades

In 2021, the turnover rate hit a staggering 47% in many job sectors. While this was fueled dominantly by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it still raised a crucial question: how can you keep the turnover rate down?

In skilled trades jobs, the turnover rate can seem difficult to manage. It's made worse by the pool of skilled trades laborers not always being a deep pool to choose from.

If you're curious about growing your business by decreasing your turnover rate, we're here to help. Read on to learn more about turnover rates and the factors of turnover in skilled trades jobs.

What Is Turnover?

To start, what is "turnover," and what are people referring to with this term?

"Turnover" is a term that refers to employees quitting or otherwise leaving a job. It's typically used to indicate that the employee left willingly and was not terminated or otherwise fired. However, some metrics will use the term to mean both.

For example, a turnover rate of 47% means that 47% of trades workers left their positions. That would mean that out of a workforce of 100, almost half of them left the position!

As an employer, a high turnover rate significantly threatens your business growth. Needing to continuously interview, re-hire, and re-train skilled workers in crucial positions will slow down your productivity, eat into your budgets, and ultimately, affect your bottom line. As such, lowering your turnover rate is a vital task.

Factors of Turnover in Skilled Trades Jobs

Now that we better understand turnover, what are the factors that lead to employees leaving? Dissatisfaction is usually at the core of an employee's choice to leave your business. Here are the main factors of turnover in skilled trades jobs.

Poor Compensation

Trades workers are often passionate and enjoy their craft, but ultimately, everyone needs to pay their bills. Poor compensation can cause an employee to need to leave your position in order to find a higher-paying position.

The best way to adjust to this is to pay a competitive wage or better for your market. We encourage you to perform a competitive analysis and be cognizant of state laws that prohibit pay discrimination.

One way you can help with compensation is also to offer strong perks and benefits. Lower pay is easier to handle if you're offering profit-sharing, generous vacation time, insurance, transportation, equipment, uniforms, professional development, and other benefits. Think of how you can fully compensate your workers beyond financial incentives.


Another problem you may face is overworking your employees. Overworking can lead to burnout, physical injuries, and mental strain. There are many emotional damages that can occur as a result of overworking as well.

Stress is one of the dominant issues in this factor. Overworking your employees can lead to severe displeasure in the workplace, which can cause them to want to leave. Help your employees with a healthy work-life balance to ensure this issue doesn't arise.

Poor Management

A common factor for some workers is to function under a bad boss. According to some sources, bad bosses are the primary reason why many employees will leave a job.

But what makes a bad boss? For many people, this is a subjective issue. Some people may prefer strict and organized bosses, while others prefer lax and leisurely managers.

Take stock of what sort of managers you have over your tradespeople and think of how you can help your team run more effectively. Once you've done so, you can work to improve your management.

Bad Treatment

One thing that unanimously makes a poor manager is bad employee treatment. If your managers treat your employees poorly-be that through overworking, verbal abuse, or other negative traits-you can't expect them to stay and withstand the treatment.

However, managers aren't the only people that can treat your employees poorly. Do your trades workers find themselves being berated by customers frequently, or higher-ups that undermine them? These can all cause drastic issues and increase your turnover rate.

Consider what issues your workers are facing on a daily basis. Afterward, think of how you can improve this problem for them.

Lack of Career Advancement Opportunities

Not everything stems from negative work experiences. Some employees will struggle if they're unable to find a way to develop their careers. If there are no opportunities to move up, grow, and develop, they may find their position stagnant. As such, they look for other companies that can help them to get to the next level.

Most skilled, ambitious employees seek professional development and a clearly defined path to career advancement. Employers should offer continued training and mentorship so that employees can perform effectively and ultimately become leaders themselves. Not only does this build strong relationship bonds, but this is also a successful retention tool.

Promotions should be followed by a pay raise. Always offer your employees what they need to grow, but do so within reason. If someone is already in a leadership position, you may not have the ability to open up more growth to them. Consider expanding responsibilities-but always compensate accordingly.

Negative Work Culture

Finally, a negative work culture can lead to many issues among even the most devoted workers.

Examples include:

  • Employee feedback is ignored.
  • Workers feel undervalued or disrespected.
  • Lack of diversity or inclusion.
  • No work flexibility.
  • Constant pressure to do more with as little as possible.
  • Consistent drama or unethical behavior.

That's not solely the case for skilled trades workers-any workplace will find themselves struggling to keep good employees in a bad workplace.

Make sure your company values and pathos are well represented by the employees you hire. Focusing on positive traits like accountability and versatility can help your employees feel safe to grow and take responsibility.

Consider what you can do to improve the work culture in your company.

Growing Your Business

Hiring the right fit for your company culture and retaining your employees is critical to growing your business. Now that you know some of the top factors for high turnover in skilled trades, do your best to ensure you're offering a positive and productive work environment.

At Hunter Recruitment Advisors, we're committed to helping skilled trade employers attract and hire talented candidates that fit your company culture. We provide you a flexible and tailored ongoing partnership that focuses on recruitment and retention. Contact us today to see how we can help your company grow.

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